Arrest warrants and Tennessee - - what you should know

Tennessee Warrants and Arrest Records Search

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What constitutes an arrest warrant in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, like in most states, an arrest warrant is the legal document that authorizes a police officer, or someone with the authority of an officer, to apprehend and detain an individual. A judge or a clerk of court, upon the finding of probable cause, will sign an arrest warrant directing a law enforcement agent to pick up and bring an individual before the court. While it is preferred that an officer have an arrest warrant before apprehending a subject, if a crime is committed in the presence of an officer he may detain the person until a judge or clerk can issue a warrant.

Do I need an attorney if I am arrested?

While you may represent yourself, it is not advised. Criminal law is complicated with many rules and procedures. Hiring a criminal attorney that is knowledgeable and has experience practicing in Tennessee is preferred to representing yourself. An attorney will know what laws may favor you and what to avoid when representing your best interest. Furthermore, there could be a reason why the arrest warrant should not have been executed or why it should be thrown out. An attorney knows how to navigate the judicial system whereas you may only make matters worse for yourself by trying to be your own attorney.

Can I search online for arrest warrants?

While there is no online database to search for arrest warrants in the State of Tennessee, you may try searching in the county within which you reside. Some counties in Tennessee may have online records for arrest warrants. While there may not be an online list of arrest warrants for the entire state, Tennessee does have some online access to criminal records.

  • Background Checks – For a fee, you can request a background check through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is the central repository for criminal history information for the State of Tennessee.
  • Tennessee’s Registries – There are three state registries that you can check for information regarding sex offenders, meth offenders and abuse of a minor: Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, Tennessee Meth Offender Registry and the Tennessee Abuse Registry.
  • Tennessee’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives – Provides a list, with pictures and pending charges, for the 10 most wanted criminals in Tennessee. You can also view a list of individuals who have already been apprehended including the date they were arrested and the offense they were charged with at the time of arrest.
  • Department of Correction – The DOC has a list of current escapees from state prison on its website including each escapee’s picture, charges and how he or she escaped.

Does Tennessee have resources available for victims of crimes?

Tennessee has specific state resources, in addition to any national resources, to help victims of crime and their families. Victims often suffer financial strain from the crime in addition to the emotional and physical effects of being a victim of a crime. The Office of the Attorney General and Reporter for the State of Tennessee maintains a list of state resources on his website for victims of crime. He also has a list of national resources that may be available to the victims of crime.

Both the Tennessee Department of Correction and the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole have notification systems so that victims and their families can be notified of any changes regarding an inmate’s status. This provides a small sense of security to know that should an inmate be released, or if he escapes, the victim would be notified immediately.

Are county arrest records available?

Some counties in Tennessee have better online resources than other counties. To determine if your county has arrest records online, try performing a search something similar to “[the name of your county] Tennessee arrest warrants" to see what is available. You may also want to contact your local police department, sheriff’s office and clerk of court to inquire about any online resources available regarding county arrest records.

Crime statistics in Tennessee

There were almost three million crimes committed in Tennessee between 1999 and 2008 with approximately 15% of those crimes being violent in nature. During this time, someone was a victim of a crime in Tennessee almost every two minutes. When compared to ten other states that are similar in size and composition, Tennessee tied for the highest rate of violent crimes per 1,000 people while it ranked third highest for property crime.

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